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Musings of a songwriter – never know what’s round the corner

Simon
Simon Jackson - "Song writing's a bit like living in PNG; not sure what's round the corner, if anything"

SIMON JACKSON

Simon Jackson is a software guru (day job) and a talented songwriter (night job), whose music has come under serious attention for its inspired melodies and moving lyrics. Simon was born in Port Moresby and did his early schooling there and in Rabaul and Bougainville before settling in Australia and then New Zealand. Here he writes of his most recent and highly praised album, ‘Two Thieves’….

AUCKLAND – I'm working on a new album - well two actually, although I'm also in two minds about the piano-based album I was planning, Livin' The Dream’.

I’m not sure why I'm backing off this but I'll probably get around to finishing it at some point.

That’s song writing. A bit like living in Papua New Guinea. Never sure what’s round the corner. If anything.

My recent 'Two Thieves' album is doing OK - mostly streaming on Spotify. It got a good review on 'Indie Band Guru' (below) which I was happy about.

'Two Thieves' is not going to make me rich but I'm pleased I did it. It feels like I achieved something, and I love the music. I probably should promote it more, but I'm busy writing.

Two ThievesI'm working on another rock/pop album - working title '6 Pack' because I originally had six songs. But I have more now so may have to change the title. Here's a sampler - a couple of unfinished songs: ‘Ain't Got You' and ‘Good Bad Life'.

I started 'Ain't Got You' in 2015. Actually in April, so four years ago. But my song writing mentor at the time told me, "You're going to write blues songs; you have to write them to get them out of your system".

That was then, when I was trying to conform and write songs for (American) film and TV.

But their rules and pickiness are crushing for creativity and hope, so I've given up on that now and write what I damn well feel like. Hopefully, others will like it, too, of course.

Funny how this song stuck with me. I had to do quite a bit of digging in archives to rebuild it but I'm happy I did - I just love it. It gets me every time. The track is largely done – I just need a bridge and the final chorus, and obviously I need to write the lyrics.

I think all the songs on this new album will be done from the ground up - so without commercial tracks or kits, just using my own (often virtual) instruments. 'Ain't Got You' and 'Good Bad Life' are both examples of this.

My last goodie in my piece here is not for the new album but might go on 'Livin' The Dream'. This one is finished but needs a pro singer: ‘However You Come’.

I wrote it for a good friend of ours who recently lost her father. I had parked the song, unsure of what to do with it, then the Christchurch massacre happened and deeply affected me, like most of New Zealand.

So I finished the song as a mark of respect to the victims of that terrible and senseless event. I intend to get a pro singer - most likely a female lead, which would be the first time I've done that and which I'm excited about.

If you have any feedback, ideas, suggestions, or just want to say 'hi' please do. I'd love to hear from you: simonja@outlook.com is my personal email.

Take care. Stay well and rock hard!

___________

Down lens - good
"The socially conscious songwriter from New Zealand is a big believer that we can all like the music we like without pigeon-holing our tastes"

Simon Jackson is more than just ‘Two Thieves'

From: Indie Band Guru

With today’s ability to network and collaborate throughout the world with the use of the internet is has taken away the excuses of not making a record.

Don’t have a great voice? No problem, the internet has someone that can sing on your track, Not a great guitarist? No worries, the internet has a shredder that can add an over the top solo to your song.

Our friend Simon Jackson is using all the tools available to continue churning out great music.

The socially conscious songwriter from New Zealand is a big believer that we can all like the music we like without pigeon-holing our tastes into specific genres.

Create and listen to what you like. He proved that with his ‘Ecocide’ EP last year. (We covered it here).

The musical output has not slowed down for Simon Jackson and he is already back with another album ‘Two Thieves’ with the goal of making people rock.

For the 14 track album, Simon sought out some help in the form of vocalists Travis Bryant. Simon produced most of the songs himself and learned how difficult and time consuming that could be as well.

The album opens with the powerful ‘Never Too Old (To Rock ‘n Roll)’ to get the blood pumping. Rock defies age. We can all love music from our young years until we are too old to hear it.

‘Don’t Give a Damn About You’ sounds like a fun bouncy song but there is a lot of angst there for the bosses and authority figures that act superior. The guitar solo work here from Trav Bryant catches attention. This is sold song writing.

The title track ‘Two Thieves’ has a mellower tone but there is still plenty of energy here. Simon Jackson wrote this one for his wife, and partner in crime, Moni.

Having that support at home helps the music come to life. Andrew Timothy was brought in to play guitar on ‘I Want More’ which is also the only song that Simon Jackson allows his voice to feature. There is a welcome rawness to it that makes the track approachable and relatable.

Simon slows it down for the closer ‘Your Arms Are My Walls’. In another ode to his wife, he lets a piano lead the way creating the most elegant track of the album. The song writing is there and he has music pouring out of him now. You can hear the full album for yourself here.

 

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Philip Fitzpatrick

"But their rules and pickiness are crushing for creativity and hope, so I've given up on that now and write what I damn well feel like. Hopefully, others will like it, too, of course".

This sounds very much like the sort of epiphany that occurs for many writers, of books and songs and poetry too.

Writing for yourself rather than for some tightly constrained commercial reason is a really liberating thing.

The Australian writer Gerald Murnane, who has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature several times, recently announced that he is not even going to bother publishing his work from now on.

My son Luke, with whom you worked in PNG, has gone off doing his own thing and is greatly enjoying it too.

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